5 million pounds of mushrooms annually! That’s a lot of mushrooms for this Yamhill County farm located about 40 miles southwest of Portland.
Bob Darm bought his father Bill Darm’s Willamette Valley mushroom farm over three decades ago. At that time, the business was struggling to produce quality mushrooms, but luckily for Bob, he was forced to make economically sound decisions that would align with the evolving practices of the mushroom growing industry.
His first step was to dial in his compost mixture of wheat straw, dried poultry manure, alfalfa seed screenings, and gypsum—easier said than done. This process traditionally takes time to experiment with moisture and temperature levels to ensure the ideal growing conditions.
One method Bob adopted to accomplish optimal composting sooner, was to lay his material on concrete and control the air circulation through internal spigots, essentially, controlling the growing surface just like a burner on a stove would control the temperature in a frying pan. This faster heating method was made possible by controlling the microorganisms to metabolize oxygen quicker.
Bob would then pasteurize his compost and innoculate it with a mycelium culture before moistening and pressing it into trays. After two weeks of letting the mycelium saturate, he added a layer of peat moss and lime to assist in the growth process. After all was said and done, these techniques were a trick of nature, making his fungi thrive by generating ideal, spring-like, growing conditions.
Nowadays, Bob, his partner Leo Perez, and Bob’s two sons all farm and harvestButton, Crimini, Portabellos, Shiitake, Oyster, and Chanterelle mushrooms.(Along with Bob’s father Bill, that’s three generations of mushroom farmers if you’re keeping count.) Their facility has even more control now, with technologies that keep their conditions attuned to the needs of their mushrooms. As a result, restaurants, markets, and co-ops throughout the region are supplied by YCM, and their reputation is known far and wide. Their brown mushroom varieties have been certified organic by Oregon Tilth.
Yamhill County Mushrooms’ stellar crew and their amazing stewardship of the land have set a shining example for Oregon farmers. We’re so pleased to be working with them to offer you some of the best Pacific Northwest mushrooms available.